Minimalism: Life as a Story

shire

We are all born with a journey to make.

Your life is a story.

Is it a good story?
boring story?
event-filled story?

The point of a story is not to win. Money or success or accolades. A great ministry.

The point of every story is the character arc.
The protagonist has to change or it’s a bad story.
He has to go from stingy to generous.
She has to go from shame-filled to confident.

And here’s the part nobody likes: pain is the only way we change.

If you’re a writer and your story is all happy and no pain, your character can’t change, and therefore it’s not a great story. It might be slightly entertaining for a second, but it’s not transformative. Cotton candy story.

If you’re a human and your story is all happy and no pain, you can’t change, and therefore your life is not a great story. It might be peaceful and comfortable, but you won’t transform, you won’t grow. Cotton candy life.

The biggest thing that I’ve found that helps me get any traction on this is to throw off everything that hinders. Minimize. Streamline. Focus on one thing at a time, get rid of anything that isn’t contributing to who you want to become.

This is hard. It’s a narrow path.

But the amount of life you receive is closely tied to the amount of meaningless pleasures you’re willing to let go of to pursue a better story.

Evolution of Sin

bullseye

I spent a lot of time as a Baptist.

Baptists love to quote Paul. The wages of sin is death, all that jazz.

That’s interesting, because earlier Jews wouldn’t have understood that. Sin meant something else several hundred years before Paul. But he updated it. That’s because he was speaking to people in his time, in his culture, not people hundreds of years earlier.

The bible describes sin as a weight.

Then it describes sin as debt.

Then it had archery imagery: missing the mark.

But why freeze it? What is sin in 2018?

It’s been described in Jonathan Merritt’s book Learning to Speak God From Scratch as:

“Anything that robs us of the fullness of life.”

“Anything that contributes to less than what God intends.”

“Death dealer.” (Dementor?)

“Life stealer.”

Sin is excessive internet use.

Sin is Netflix binging when your conscience is telling you there’s something else for you.

Sin is wishing you had someone else’s Instagram life and not being able to live your own, the one God graciously gave you.

Sin is saying no to God’s endless invitations to taste and see that there’s something more than that thing you know is robbing you of life.

Buechner on the Bible

“The Bible is not first of all a book of moral truth. I would call it instead a book of truth about the way life is. Those strange old scriptures present life as having been ordered in a certain way, with certain laws as inextricably built into it as the law of gravity is built into the physical universe. When Jesus says that whoever would save his life will lose it and whoever loses his life will save it, surely he is not making a statement about how, morally speaking, life ought to be. Rather, he is making a statement about how life is.” –Frederick Buechner